Does House Raffle Breach Spirit of Rules?

Meath GAA is to raffle three new houses in Navan over the next fifteen months in order to raise up to €1.8 million towards the cost of redeveloping Pairc Tailteann in Navan.

The tickets will be on sale directly via the Meath County Board as well as through clubs.

Each draw will have a cap on ticket sales of 12,000 and the tickets will cost €100 each. The promotion is being run in partnership with Glenveagh Homes who are developing the three-bedroom homes in Navan.

The list price of the homes will be €275,000 each and there will be cash prizes as part of the draw as well.

The idea of raffling property has a long tradition in Ireland with gambler Barney Curley famously raffling Midleton House in Westmeath in 1984, selling 9,000 tickets at £200 a go.

At the time he was found to have breached competition and lottery rules, was found guilty but was let off with a ‘poor box’ contribution of £5,000 which he then doubled.

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St Fechins GAA Club in Louth are also in the midst of a similar raffle with the draw due to be made on December 30th. In order to enter, all ticket buyers technically have to be social members of the club, presumably with a portion of the ticket price going towards that purpose.

No doubt Meath GAA and St Fechins have cleared all the rules but it does still raise a question over the GAA’s ban on gambling sponsorship, passed at this year’s Congress, which prohibits gambling companies from entering into new sponsorship agreements with any units of the GAA.

The motion was passed by 93 per cent of Congress delegates back in February amid concerns over the depth to which gambling issues were growing around the Association.

Galway’s Alan Kerins, speaking on behalf of the Gaelic Players Association at the time suggested that “gambling is a huge concern at present. 77 players presented for counselling services this year, and over half of those were for gambling issues.”

Ireland has a strange relationship with gambling, and there is a philosophical line drawn between having a punt in the bookies as opposed to lotteries up to and including the National Lottery.

In a grown-up world where people have choices, this raffle does appear to be a good way of raising money from within the community towards a major community asset. Whether it sits well within the spirit of the rules though is a slightly greyer matter.


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Image Credit: Meath GAA

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